Spanish shanks

Spanish shanks

A Year of Practiculture
Rohan Anderson & Kate Berry

I love shanks. If they come off a wallaby, kangaroo, deer or lamb, it doesn’t matter. The thing that makes them all good is the muscle and its gelatinous nature, which gets me excited. Normally, I’d cook shanks in the cooler months, but the last few years I’ve enjoyed them in summer. Summer is a veg fest for us backyard growers, so the very thought of a meat fest in the middle of summer gets me wobbly at the knees. And even though I could serve these shanks with a side of fresh summer veg, I blatantly refuse to. It’s a bowl of tender melt-in-your-mouth meat. Why add anything to it? Well, it sure makes a change for me, anyway.

Patience is super-important when cooking shanks. I recommend you set the dish cooking then bugger off out to the garden to potter for a few hours. For your effort in the garden you shall be rewarded with a summer meat fest. Hot and spicy, too, so you’re required to knock the top off a coldie to wash down all that spice.


Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, sliced
5 large garlic cloves, sliced
2 large lamb shanks
250ml red wine
1 tablespoon smoked pimenton
1 tablespoon chilli powder
725g tomato passata
salt, to taste
parsley, to garnish


  1. Toast the cumin seeds in a dry frying pan over medium heat. After a few minutes they’ll start to heat up and release the beautiful aromatics. Remove from the heat and crush to a powder in a mortar and pestle.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a flameproof casserole dish over low–medium heat on the stove top, then toss in the onion and garlic, and fry them gently for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Add the shanks and brown them evenly, then pour in the wine. Add the cumin, pimentón, chilli powder and passata. Pop the lid on, reduce the heat to very low, and simmer for 2–3 hours.
  4. Season with salt and serve with a garnish of parsley.
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